Amherst Bee Article

Amherst Bee, March 24, 2021

The Amherst Quilters Guild sews the fabric of community, good acts

March 24, 2021

By FALISHA OSER Reporter

Mary Carrol and Sylvia Siegel hold one of the quilts they made. Photo courtesy of Amherst Quilters Guild

The Amherst Quilters Guild (AQG) is part of the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, and has been involved with community service of various kinds long before the start of the pandemic. However, the pandemic has forced AQG to adapt to the new normal, like everyone else, while still being able to provide assistance where there is need.

In June, AQG donated 50 quilts to the Children’s Hospital. “Because of the pandemic, it was different this year,” said Sylvia Siegel, chairperson for the AQG Quilts for Courage, a sub-committee of quilters who donate to the pediatric units of nearby hospitals. Siegel, who used to work for the Children’s Hospital as a pediatric nurse 20 years ago, maintains her connections in order to continue contributing by donating quilts. “I wait until I have about 50 or so quilts, then I load up the car and take them down to Children’s or Roswell, usually both but everything is so different now. Sometimes people just make quilts at home, give them to me, some people will just make the top and someone else will quilt it.”

Last April, AQG made more than 4,000 masks that went out to a variety of places, including 1,000 masks to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. “A large part of the guild contributed, and we’d drive out to the village on Wednesdays and drop off what we had made,” said Betty Zebrowski, chairperson of the AQG Quilts for Troops committee.

“We will respond to whatever is a current need,” said Betty Lerner, president of AQG. “Masks were not something we had anticipated ever having to make a year ago, when there was a great shortage.”

Community organizations are encouraged to contact the Amherst Quilters Guild if they wish to collaborate on a cause. To do so, contact AQG through their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Amherst-Qulters-Guild-612268262220142/. “We’re always happy to listen,” Lerner said.

Recently, the Community Service committee of the Amherst Quilters Guild made and donated about 50 quilts to Cornerstone Manor, a woman’s shelter operated by City Mission.

There are 86 members who make up the Amherst Quilters Guild. They usually meet once a month. “The past year has been difficult because of the pandemic,” said Lerner. The guild is restricted to a gathering size of 20 to 25 people, “but theoretically and under normal circumstances, we meet on the third Thursday of the month. Vice president and program chairperson Rebecca Ribis will think of a program that we can all do together or invite a speaker or things like that.”

This month, Siegel held the first in-person Quilts for Courage committee meeting since September. “There were about 11 people there, which is more than we usually get but people are so tired of being home and not seeing anyone. Some people bring their sewing machines and sew, other people will cut, iron, do whatever needs to be done – basically whatever you feel like doing that contributes,” said Siegel.

The guild is open to quilters of all abilities whose desire is to promote the skill of quilting. Member interests range from traditional to contemporary and works extend from miniature, wearables, to full-sized quilts. More information on becoming a member of AQG is available at www.amherstquiltersguild.org/membership/.